What makes a human life worth living? How do I know I am someone?
Our culture has a peculiar addiction to the belief that fame is actually the answer to that question. How many Twitter followers do you have? We don’t like to admit it, but we really do care about that. It is a signal of my importance. It is a confirmation of what I sense internally must be true: that I am not just an ordinary person, but truly extraordinary. I was destined not just for success, but for renown.
Ever since that parenting classic Your Child’s Self-Esteem by Dorothy Briggs was published in 1970, we have raised children to believe that they are not just valued, but special. And if I am special, then – well surely everyone else ought to be able to see this too? If I grew up with the sound of my own personal cheer squad (we used to call them "parents") then will I not expect more of the same as an adult? Haven’t I learnt that applause is the sweetest reward of all? That it is the sure sign of my worth?